Harmful algae blooms have been making their way into Bay Area waters in the last few weeks. The Oakland Estuary, Alameda Beach, and Lake Merritt have all been recently featured in local media warning of red tide and potentially harmful algae blooms.
Today the warnings made their way to my local swim spots. A warning sign was spotted at the Albany Bulb and my open water swimming google group was awash with speculation and information gathering. Angie and I met at 3:00 for a swim and based on the most current information— one of the swimmers in the google group had spoken with someone at East Bay Parks and learned that nothing had yet been spotted at Keller—we headed out to Point Richmond.
The first thing we saw was a sign warning of possible harmful algae blooms.
I checked my email again and saw that in the time we drove out to Keller, the swimmer who’d posted about Keller not having any reported sightings had gotten a call back from the EBRPD informing him that now there had been a sighting.
Angie and I (and another swimmer we just met) sat on the beach for a while trying to decide what to do. Finally, we went for it. The water was warm and a little bit gross close to shore (also, there were plenty of people splashing around in the shallows, whether in ignorance or defiance of the warnings, I don’t know), but once we got a bit further out, it felt cool and clean.
We swam out for a while and I tried to enjoy the fun waves and brilliant, sunny day, but my uneasiness persisted and it wasn’t my best swim. Now I’m going to do some reading and learn what I can about these potentially harmful algae blooms.